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Climbing with a camera?

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Climbing with a camera?

Postby Jaskic » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:34 am

Hello All,
In preparation for my first Alpine climb next summer (Mt. Adams), I was thinking today about all the great pictures I am going to take while on the mountain. That got me thinking about the camera i planned to take: I have a Nikon DSLR that I use for my normal camera. But I realized that this isn't what I'd want to take with me, because:

a) it's heavy
b) it would need to be in the main compartment of my pack, and thus I'd never never take it out except in camp and on the summit
c) and thus, I'd have few pictures

My thought was to grab a good quality, potentially ruggedized (new Nikon AW100 maybe?) point and shoot that would provide me good quality photos, but would be small and light enough that it could be packed easily accessible on the outside of my pack somewhere (hip belt?) so I have easy access to it while climbing. The last thing I'd want to worry about while trying to keep my balance at 13,000 feet was how to reach and grab my camera.

So, I thought I'd inquire from the community of experts: for those that take a camera with them (especially for alpine climbing), do you take a DSLR or a smaller point and shoot? How do you pack it? And, even, what model do you folks use/suggest?

Thanks!
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby aglane » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:41 am

Mine is the minimalist/duffer reply, perhaps. The Panasonic 12x point and shoot and the Fuji F70EXR 10x--that I use--are two shirt-pocket size and weight choices, with pretty good quality. Comparing the two--my usual partner has the Panasonic--I think the Fuji may have a slight edge in quality of image and color registration. Maybe less camera than you want, but I like it in the shirt or the outside-jacket pocket.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby lcarreau » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:46 am

I'm also an old duffer ... but, you can still fit a Canon Powershot in the pocket of your jacket. Get one with the 10x digital zoom ... can't go wrong.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Mooner » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:14 am

Well... I would personally suggest taking you DLSR. I take mine everywhere with me be it technique or not. I have a Chest harness for when things are technique and when they aren't i just biner my camera bag to waist belt of my backpack. I just have a small case for my DLSR and it works great. Dont scimp on pictures. I wouldn't bother with extra lens though. Just get a good wide angle lens and a bag that will tightly fit your camera and lens and call it good.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby kozman18 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:41 am

I sewed a fastex fastener to the shoulder strap of my pack, with the matching half on a small camera bag -- easy to unclip, or just unzip to get at the camera. Could sew it to the hip belt too.

You are right -- unless the camera is handy, you won't get a lot of the better shots.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:25 am

Point and Shoots take great photos these days. I print shots from my D10 up to 16x24 all the time, and they always look great. My wife and I are pro photographers, and I have some prints from that little camera that our photog friends swore were from the 7D.

Most of my climbing is technical, but I've tried to tote the DSLR on various non-technical climbs and regretted it. I don't usually feel like taking the time to compose a great shot in the mountains. If you do - and that's why some people climb in the first place - a DSLR is great. But it certainly makes sense to have a point and shoot in the arsenal.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:33 am

Get a camera case that has a stiff clip/loop in the back, and put the chest strap through that loop/clip. A P&S camera in this position will be ready at a second's notice, and will not interfere with your climbing. I have friends who try to carry DSLRs, and they either put them in their packs for anything rough, or they have the cameras banging away and smashing into stuff, catching on rocks at very inconvenient times.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Baarb » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:56 am

There's a similar older thread with some models that may be of interest (in case you didn't see it):
small-sized-camera-t53540.html

The following article indicates that the Panasonic Lumix FT3 or Canon PowerShot S100 may fit you bill too:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/20 ... technology
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Jaskic » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:25 pm

This is wonderful, thanks all. Some wonderful information here. By sheer numbers, the winner seems to be to ditch the DSLR and use a good P&S instead. I tend to lean toward this if only because as this is my first time on a real mountain, I want to be able to take good pictures/video but also be able to concentrate on staying safe and alive. As I get more accustomed to it and better at it, I might move to a DSLR.

As for which camera to use, thanks @Baarb for the links as well. I'll start poking around to see what I can find!
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby albanberg » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:01 pm

I have used a Panasonic DMC-LX3 and you can see the pics on SP:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicDMCLX3/

This camera looks nice:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmX100/

There are also the new mirrorless cameras that have similar image quality to SLRs but in a smaller size.

You have many choices.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:15 pm

An optical viewfinder is useful on sunny days.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:43 pm

I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 with a Leica 10x optical lens. I'm very happy with it. I carry it in a a small Mountain Smith camera holder. The holder can attach directly to my pack strap or it has a separate strap.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby radson » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:45 pm

Image
On the fixed lines by radson1, on Flickr

I too use a chest holder, the one made by Clik. Personally I think the advantages of a dSLR override the additional weight.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Mooner » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:58 pm

Listening to all the discussion about how people are using P&S over the DLSR, I some what feel swayed from my DLSR ways, I really do want something smaller and lighter (considering the fact that I have spent alot of money in gear that is lighter) but dispite all of the advances in P&S they still can't pull wide Angle shoots, something that I want when I am out in the Mountains..can they? Part of the Grandeur of the moutains is the sure size and the vast expanse of your surroundings and when I am on a ridge or steep snow wall there isn't alot of room to take some steeps backward so I can fit in more of what I am seeing. A DLSR doesn't really restrict alot of movement if you know where to put it and still be very easy to access.
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Re: Climbing with a camera?

Postby Jaskic » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:25 pm

@radson- that's awesome! I'm looking through the Clik website and they have some pretty killer options to make this work. I think longer term, that's the exact direction I will want to go in. But for my first attempt, I think the P&S is probably safer, i.e. not an additional weight hooked onto me that might screw with my balance.

Like many other things here, I feel like this will end up being a personal preference issue. As @mooner notes, you can make the practical argument about what the P&S can achieve given it's technical limitations as compared to the DSLR. But lot's of pretty experienced people (in this thread and others) have made the argument that the P&S achieves what one would want out of mountain/climbing photography without sacrificing weight/safety/ease of use/access.
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